Google announced that it will be discontinuing Book on Google for flights for users outside the US at the end of September, and told Skift that it will similarly discontinue functionality in the US after March 31st.
We’ve noticed a drop in the number of people booking flights on Google. This acknowledges that travelers prefer to book flights through online travel agents or direct airlines.
Likewise, removing this feature does not undermine Google’s claim to defeat regulatory efforts to curtail its powers for antitrust reasons.
The Book on Google feature for flights allows travelers to book on Google, but Google only facilitates booking for that airline or online travel agency, the latter providing customer service features. . Google didn’t charge airlines for this feature.
“Over the next 12 months, we will be phasing out the Book on Google feature for flights,” Google said. “Initially, we offered this feature to give people an easier way to buy tickets and help our partner airlines and OTAs receive more bookings. Over time, we’ve noticed that some people actually want to book directly on our partners’ websites, and we’re always trying to match user preferences as much as possible.”
Some experts saw Book on Google as a company trying to become an online travel agency, but that didn’t seem to be the intention. Google makes so much money in travel advertising that it can’t compete directly with its biggest partner. Also, Google is not interested in accommodating flight changes or cancellations, or providing customer service to stranded travelers.
Google is discontinuing Book on Google for hotels in early 2022.
Google launched Book on Google in 2015 to provide an easier way to book at a time when many airlines and online travel agencies’ mobile sites were not particularly sophisticated.
However, partners’ mobile features have improved in the meantime, and Google says the share of flight bookings coming from Book on Google features is declining.
Over the years, many metasearch sites have attempted this kind of quick booking for partner airlines and hotels, but with a few exceptions such as Germany’s HomeToGo, this kind of functionality has declined over the years. increase.